tv NBC Bay Area News Special Reality Check NBC October 31, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
we find out if the balloted measure delivers on its promise by breaking down the numbers and cost to your pocketbook. and money and marijuana. lauren vazquez: the taxes that it has decided to impose on marijuana is bringing in more money than it is bringing in from alcohol, and that's just a game changer. sam: the headlines say tax revenue from colorado's recreational pot is a cash cow. why record-breaking numbers could be inflated with smoke and mirrors. and finally. kath tsakalakis: we have to get guns out of american schools. sam: some call it an american epidemic. gun violence on school grounds: another week, another incident. but are the often-used statistics about america's school shootings reliable? we look at the numbers and get to the truth in tonight's "reality check." and good evening, and thank you for joining us. i'm sam brock.
welcome to a special edition of "reality check." for the next 30 minutes, we'll use hard data and expert analysis to get to the truth behind today's top headlines. and we begin with the hottest topic in san francisco right now, housing. the city's grappling with rising costs and an increasing population, forces that have pushed out countless low and middle-income families. city officials want to create more affordable housing and also preserve what's left. they say proposition a, mayor ed lee's housing bond, would help ease that crisis. we decided to crunch some numbers and see if the money would make a dent. lost in the melody of san francisco's mission district, amidst the humming motors, slow strollers, and jumping new joints lingers the memory of what it was like to actually live here for some. like anna lanuza, who moved out of the city 5 years ago, but left her heart in the mission. anna: we should be able to afford it. my sons should be able to live here.
they were born here, san francisco. it's not fair. sam: the housing phenomenon gripping san francisco, making it arguably the least affordable place in the country by some metrics, has moved in like a cool fog, blanketing people and places all over the city. female: finding any kind of housing has been impossible. people just don't even answer you. male: it's not easy, and it's not guaranteed. female: i want to see us build as much housing as we can. ed lee: prop a, the housing bond, will help. sam: mayor ed lee has pushed proposition a as a critical piece of a longer term solution to build and rehabilitate thousands of homes for low and middle-income people in san francisco. would the proposition deliver on that promise? first, let's look at what's actually in the proposition. it does grant permission for san francisco to borrow up to $310 million in bonds. it does not specify exactly how that money would be spent.
it does create a blueprint for building new affordable units, fixing dilapidated ones, and helping first-time homebuyers. it does not guarantee a certain number of units to be built or preserved. ed: prop a keeps homes affordable. sam: mayor lee has been the face of prop a. but his campaign office denied our request for an interview, so we sat down with one of the city's most vocal advocates for affordable housing, san francisco supervisor scott wiener. scott wiener: it's always bad here, but it's as bad or it's worse than i've ever seen it. sam: wiener and the entire board of supervisors backs proposition a. ed: every san franciscan deserves a place to call home. sam: he describes it as a two-pronged approach: about half the money for new units and the rest to rehab old ones. scott: way too much of that public housing stock is dilapidated. it's just in terrible, sometimes even unlivable, conditions. and so, it is incumbent on us to rehabilitate and shore up
that existing public housing stock, in addition to building new units. sam: but how much stock can prop a really supply? we asked the city to crunch some numbers for us. in the last decade, san francisco has created or preserved 8,000 units of multi-family affordable housing, at a cost of about $155,000 per unit. so, take $310 million in bond money, divide it by $155,000 per unit, and you get a grand total of 2,000 units, new and rehabilitated, or 1,000 of each. back in the mission district, the promise of prop a hangs like a small token on this building window, surrounded by chic restaurants and highly sought after real estate. but given the scale of the housing problem, you might be hard-pressed to find someone who'd call 2,000 units a token gesture. anna: let's hope, fingers crossed, that maybe it'll pass, maybe to help others, not only for me, but for my kids,
for the future, that are ever to afford it. sam: and mayor lee says the measure will help build new homes without raising your taxes. that statement is not entirely true. prop a would raise property taxes for homeowners, about $80 a year for each million dollars of property that you own for 2 decades. we should know. we looked for critics of prop a in city government and the non-profit sector, and we're hard-pressed to find anyone against this ballot measure. moving on now to another contentious proposition, prop i. that's the moratorium on all market rate building in the mission. the mission is the city's oldest neighborhood, and perhaps its quickest-changing one too. we investigate whether putting a pause on building protects or pushes out some of that neighborhood's longest tenured residents. red-hot demand for properties all over san francisco has sent costs skyrocketing all over the city.
ralph mclaughlin: i was astounded to see that 63% of all homes in the city of san francisco are valued at $1 million or more. sam: perhaps nowhere is the frenzy for housing more obvious than the mission district. take a look at this graphic provided by trulia, a real estate website that analyzes housing data. the growing patch represents property worth a million dollars or more, and the mission is starting to radiate red. that's why some residents have lobbied hard for a moratorium, or a hold, on market rate building in that neighborhood. female: because this is a crisis. we are in crisis in our community. male: i lived in the mission district all my life. i got priced out. i moved, couldn't afford the rent. let's keep our people here. sam: supporters have propelled that push into a proposition, prop i. you'll find it on your ballot this november. one of those supporters, fernando marti with the council of community housing organizations, says the measure
is a much-needed, year and a half long time out for city leaders to find a solution that works for everyone. fernando marti: we believe we should do things like proposition i. we're going to pause to figure out where we're going to build this housing, and how we're going to create a balance, and if we need rezoning and other tools. sam: it's an argument getting plenty of pushback. and here's why. scott: market-rate housing, privately produced housing, is a significant source of funding for affordable housing because developers either build a certain percentage of their units on-site as affordable, which is good because it creates units, or they pay a fee which then goes into building affordable housing in san francisco. sam: san francisco supervisor scott wiener strongly opposes prop i. he says the measure would make the root of the problem, unlimited demand and virtually no supply, even worse. scott: the evictions and the displacements is happening in the mission because it's an incredibly amazing and popular neighborhood. and a lot of people are moving in.
and when you have a lot of people moving in, and you don't have enough housing, people compete for that housing stock. sam: trulia's ralph mclaughlin says wiener's economic assessment checks out. ralph: from an economist's perspective, what we need is new housing. and so, at least at a superficial level, if we are saying let's stop building housing, that is not going to make things more affordable. male: our housing is for the people of the city who's been here. sam: but when it's your housing stock at stake, it's personal and a matter of self-preservation. all sides of this discussion want to see more affordable housing. there's just some disagreement over the best pathway to get there. fernando: we believe as a city, you know, as an ethical mandate, that we should have a diverse city. and that runs counter to the market. sam: interestingly, here's what the market produced last year, 3,500 new units in san francisco, but only 75 in the mission, or about 2%.
the numbers suggest new building is not what's driving up prices and evictions in the mission. the reality here, supporters of this measure want a guarantee from city hall that a certain percentage of buildings that do go up go towards affordable housing. the city, meantime, doesn't want to deepen the housing crisis by building nothing at all. well, right now, we are just getting started on "reality check." coming up next, where there's smoke, there's surplus revenue? the truth about colorado's tax on legal pot and the money it's making for the centennial state; plus. barack obama: somehow, this has become routine. sam: president obama's heart-wrenching speech following another tragic shooting in oregon. the real numbers behind gun violence on school property when "reality check" continues. [music]
is still in the midst of a historic drought. everybody is doing their part to conserve water where they can, saving by whatever means necessary. but what if the most significant change you could make is right under your nose, or really under your seat? we found out where you're likely wasting the most water, and the answer might surprise you. sam: what's your worst water wasting habit? washing dishes with the tap running? taking long showers? it turns out the answer might actually be a bit more private than you'd think. that's right, your household's biggest water waster is your toilet. according to data from the environmental protection agency, when it comes to in-home water use, nearly 27% of household water is consumed by toilets, followed by washing machines, showers, faucets, and leaks. that is a lot of water lost right down your drain.
now, the average old-school toilets are about 5 gallons per flush, which is essentially the equivalent of your entire watercooler at work. here's an option. you can get a whole new toilet, which epa standards dictate have to be 1.28 gallons per flush or less, which is a huge difference. that's basically 25% of your water usage right there. it's going to cost you, though, probably a couple of hundred dollars for the toilet, plus installation. if you can't afford that money up front, there are other things you can do around your house to make a difference. javier almanza: a lot of our shower heads, most of our shower heads have the standard of a pause, so in case you want to lather and not have the water running while you're lathering up, you can pause it, the water, then restart it. there's also a lot of water effective faucets that are motion sensors. sam: cutting back on water in the home has been top of mind since governor brown announced major plans for reducing residential water use earlier this year. jerry brown: things are changing and we need to change. and this drought is the catalyst for that.
sam: the plan, a 25% reduction in california of 2013 levels by early 2016, which went into effect in june. experts say reaching that goal could be easy once people learn where they're wasting and how to conserve, saving water and money. swapping out an older toilet for one with an epa-approved watersense label could shave $100 off your annual water bill and use 60% less water. these upgrades do carry a price tag, but many water districts provide rebates to help offset that cost. and we promise that is the last time you're going to see toilet water video on this program. still to come on "reality check." lauren: we are generating more revenue from marijuana than alcohol. sam: the surprising twist to colorado's record-breaking profits from legalized pot that has lawmakers intoxicated. and at least 153 school shootings in the us just
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is a topic of national interest right now. could states really cash in on marijuana? colorado recently tallied its revenues for the first full year of recreational pot sales. how'd the centennial state make out? one pro-marijuana group says that colorado broke new ground, making more money from pot than alcohol. but that statement falls short of the full story. sam: it's a debate blazing across the country, as states like california weigh the financial benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana. colorado's one of the few states that's already done so, and the big bucks are starting to roll in. at least, that's the headline of a recent report from the marijuana policy project, or mpp, a pro-pot group claiming
the centennial state is rewriting history. lauren: it's collecting taxes. the taxes that it has decided to impose on marijuana is bringing in more money that it is bringing in from alcohol, and that's just a game changer. sam: before policy makers get drunk on the returns, let's look at them. the report finds a haul of $70 million in the first full year, compared to a more pedestrian $42 million for alcohol. sam: we're talking about real meaningful dollars. sam: we ran those figures by joseph henchman at the tax foundation, a non-partisan think tank in dc. sam: for the first time in history, a state generates more annual tax revenue from marijuana sales than from alcohol sales, is that actually true? joseph henchman: it is true. i don't know how much it tells you, but colorado's raised about $70 million over the last year from its marijuana taxes, and that's pretty much on projection. sam: on projection, but also powered by a,
dare we say, psychedelic tax rate. check out the breakdown from the colorado department of revenue. the specialty marijuana sales tax is a whopping 10%, which is padded by a 15% excise tax paid by pot producers. so all said and told, the total marijuana tax rate in colorado is almost 30%. meantime, the state's taxes on alcohol, be it for wine, liquor, or beer,ge from a fe bth notingf courthat colorry high taxes on marijuana and very low taxes on alcohol. so, it's not like people aren't still buying--that alcohol sales aren't still much more than marijuana sales. sam: in fact, alcohol sales in colorado are still much higher than pot, one reason why the mpp says it's not including general sales taxes in its calculations. maybe there's more money being generated from alcohol if you were to include the general sales tax too. lauren: overall, it's just that the specific special taxes
levied on marijuana versus alcohol, they are higher from marijuana. we are generating more revenue from marijuana than alcohol. sam: or, another way to state the bottom line, colorado is generating more revenue from marijuana-specific taxes than alcohol taxes. but alcohol is still likely bringing the state more money. so, the claim is only partly true. and as you probably know, california right now gearing up for its own policy debate over recreational marijuana. the issue is expected to be on the ballot in 2016. we'll continue to follow that story and fact-check claims as they come in. well, last but certainly not least, up next on "reality check." kath: parents in other countries are not sending their children to school with bulletproof backpacks that are sold in america. sam: some call it an american epidemic, gun violence on school grounds, the surprising statistics that help frame the discussion of how we define school shootings in the us.
it is now time to tackle a difficult subject wrought with pain and opinion, how to prevent future school shootings. few disagree it is a very serious problem, which we were just reminded of again in roseburg. gun safety group everytown has been tracking school shootings in the us since newtown. the findings are both staggering and insightful in figuring out how we define school shooting. male: exchanging shots with him. he's in a classroom. sam: several weeks ago. male: massacre on campus, a mass shooting at an oregon college, police rushing to the scene. sam: several months ago. anchor: one student was killed and two others wounded by gunfire thursday at sacramento city college. sam: and maybe the worst of them all, several years ago. announcer: here's lester holt. lester holt: good day, we're back on the air with our continuing coverage of the horrible tragedy. sam: newtown brought the country to tears and propelled kath tsakalakis to action.
kath: parents in other countries are not sending their children to school with bulletproof backpacks that are sold in america. so, i think newtown changed many things. we have to get guns out of american schools. sam: she joined moms demand action, part of the much larger everytown, michael bloomberg's gun reform counter-punch to the nra. michael bloomberg: i don't think any of us can truly feel the pain that they have had to endure. they can't bring back their loved ones. sam: the group's website lists at least 153 school shootings in america since 2013, or roughly 1 a week. we wanted to know the criteria being used to make that list. kath: i think a common sense way to look at school shootings is any time a gun is discharged in a school building or on school grounds. sam: that definition covers a lot of ground. some cases detail high school or college students
opening fire in cafeterias. others can be incidental. an idaho professor accidentally shoots himself in the foot during chemistry class. or unrelated to the school, other than the location, two florida men fight over crab traps and walk onto school property, where one shoots the other in the hand. we read through the entire list. we found 9 cases of guns accidentally fired, 27 shootings on school ground that didn't involve anyone connected to the school, and 15 cases of suicide or attempted suicide on campus. do all of these cases qualify as school shootings as they're commonly portrayed through incidents like roseburg? john donohue iii: the whole area of gun violence is such a complicated and multifaceted thing, that the mass shootings are the most visible and the most disruptive societally. but they're a relatively small number when you think of the huge number of deaths that we have overall by gun or other means.
it is a problem because passions are so high on this issue that people grab the numbers that make their side look better, and sometimes they might not be aware of the full nuance of that number. barack obama: somehow, this has become routine. sam: the only number president obama or parents like kath tsakalakis care about is zero. that's how many massacres, deaths, or firearm discharges they want to see on school campuses moving forward. kath: we can implement these better laws and get guns out of schools, out of criminal hands, and make these types of mass murder situations a lot less frequent. barack: i hope and pray that i don't have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. sam: and despite those words, president obama said he's in no position to make any guarantees. regardless of how you interpret the numbers, there is absolutely
no denying the tragedy of each incident on that everytown list, as well as the incredible hardship and grief that each family who's lost a loved one to gun violence has had to endure. if you'd like to see more in-depth stories like these, please visit our webpage, nbcbayarea.com/realitycheck. we examine issues every day that affect you, so please email your tips to email@example.com. that concludes this issue of "reality check." thank you for watching. you're invited to watch our segments, which air every week on nbc bay area news at 6 o'clock. thank you and have a great night. [music] [music] [music]
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